Travel through America's heart and soul. Tour a Vanderbilt mansion, explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy a hosted dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center.
Orientation of Atlanta, Ashville
Visit CNN Studios, George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Kentucky Horse Park, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum
First Class Travel Highlights:
Audio Headsets for flexible sightseeing
Daily breakfast and an average of 50% of evening meals
Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Cherry-picked hotels all tried and trusted
Hand-picked Insider Experiences
Optional Experiences and free time
All porterage and local charges included
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
An expert Travel Director and separate Driver
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday
VIP entry to many sights
Tap your feet to the sounds of the South in its capital, Atlanta, where this evening we'll join our Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception to launch our exploration of the heart and soul of America.
Atlanta – Asheville
Gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the world’s first 24-hour news channel during a Behind-the-Scenes tour – a snapshot that will delight your inner news hound. See Atlanta’s most prized highlights afterward.
Asheville – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Gatlinburg (2 Nights)
Explore the elegance of yesteryear, starting your day with a self-guided visit to the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in America and former luxurious homestead of George and Edith Vanderbilt. Stroll through acres of landscaped gardens and gain insight into the lives of a great family once considered American Royalty. We continue to the iconic UNESCO-listed Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center and explore 19th century wilderness settlement life. We’ll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, then travel through the centre of the park. We overnight in Gatlinburg.
Enjoy a full, free day to connect with the beautiful natural landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, so named for the "smoky" mist of blue haze that surrounds these peaks. Embark on a hike, visit Cades Cove to see the local wildlife or visit Dollywood, owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. Consider an evening of invigorating fun, stampeding at Dolly Parton's famous Dinner Attraction.
Gatlinburg – Cumberland Gap – Lexington
Follow in the footsteps of brave pioneers who travelled through the Cumberland Gap into the West and into Kentucky’s wilderness. Delve into the equestrian heritage of this Bluegrass city in Lexington, at the “Horse Capital of the World.” Visit the Kentucky Horse Park or explore the International Museum of the Horse, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
Lexington – Louisville (2 Nights)
Dive into Culture today, saddling up for a soulful encounter with the equine residents of a local horse retirement farm, where you’ll Make a Difference by contributing to the dignified retirement of thoroughbreds whose careers have come to an end. We continue along the Bourbon Trail to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the world's most award-winning distillery, for an insider's look into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into crafting truly great bourbon. You'll witness first-hand the entire process that goes into distilling Kentucky’s golden liquid – from grain delivery to the cooking process, fermentation and, of course and distillation. Enjoy a taste of the final product before journeying through Bluegrass country to Louisville. This evening, we Connect with a Local, and enjoy a hosted Be My Guest dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center with a local guest.
Imagine the thundering sounds of thoroughbred hoofs on the celebrated Churchill Downs racetrack as you visit the home of the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Feel the thrill of the "Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" as you explore the Kentucky Derby Museum, then spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening, we join our fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner of foot-stomping, festive fun and flavours of authentic Kentucky cuisine.
Transfer to Louisville International Airport. Consider extending your stay at the Hyatt Regency Louisville, or join our Tastes and Sounds of the South trip.